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Day 8 At Wimbledon Features Women's Quarterfinals

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Let's check in on Wimbledon and the apparently unstoppable force that is Serena Williams, who continues to steam forward in her quest for the most Grand Slam singles titles. Yesterday, she easily beat her big sister, Venus, in straight sets to reach the quarterfinals. For more on that, and other big tennis stories developing at the all-England club, we're joined by Sports Illustrated writer Courtney Nguyen. Good morning.

COURTNEY NGUYEN: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: It's been quite a tournament there at Wimbledon for Serena Williams. After a surprisingly difficult win over the weekend, she cruised right past Venus yesterday. Is her third Grand Slam title of the year basically in sight?

NGUYEN: Well she's got a - unfortunately for Serena, still a few potentially difficult matches ahead of her. But yes, I think that the way she played in that fourth round against Venus Williams, she played one of the best matches of the tournament. She played a clean match and really just outplayed her sister flat out. So she's in a good spot. She has a potential. You know, she could play Maria Sharapova. She has a tough one today against Victoria Azarenka, but you know, you can't bet against Serena. I think that as things deeper, she plays a lot better with every single match.

MONTAGNE: Although Victoria Azarenka is not highly ranked...

NGUYEN: Yeah, no, not anymore. But she was a former number one, and Serena does have a pretty dominant record against her. She's 16 and 3, but Azarenka has played her, the last two times extremely tough, had match points against her, just a couple months ago - took her to three sets at the French Open as well. She's in there. She's always kind of on the cusp of beating Serena Williams, and who knows? On the quicker surface, with a little bit more unpredictability, she could come through.

MONTAGNE: And two other American women are playing today. Tell us about them.

NGUYEN: Sure, we have three American women, which is pretty darn great for the Americans here at Wimbledon. We have Madison Keys - young, 20-year-old, big arm, big power in that arm, and she's the one that made the semifinals at the Australian Open earlier this year, fun kid. And she's got a really tough one today against Agnieszka Radwanska, former top-five player. So that will be very interesting, and then the surprise of the tournament really has been Coco Vandeweghe, who plays Maria Sharapova later today. She also - American tennis, usually very big, powerful, cannon-type tennis. She also has a big serve, big forehand. She has a lot of confidence, Coco Vandeweghe. She's never been short on that, and she's into her first slam quarterfinals. So a very nice tournament for the American women.

MONTAGNE: Let's shift then now to the men. A familiar name at Wimbledon, Roger Federrer is meant to be wrapping up his amazing career, but he seems to be making a strong bid for his eighth Wimbledon title.

NGUYEN: Yeah, he's got a really nice draw, hasn't really been tested at all, barely broken a sweat, although, you know, there is still debates in tennis whether Roger Federer sweats at all. So we can't really gauge the strength of the draw on that. But he's been absolutely clean, very sharp, has a potential semifinal against Andy Murray. I think a lot of people are looking at that match as being, you know, one of the big matches, if not the big match of the tournament, both men playing incredibly good right now. So not much to worry about. As the tournament goes on, you always wonder with Roger, what his turnaround time looks like, how well he comes back from matches. He can put in, just out of nowhere, really flat performance, so we'll keep an eye him.

MONTAGNE: That's Sports Illustrated reporter Courtney Nguyen joining us from Wimbledon. Thanks very much.

NGUYEN: No problem. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.